ISIS claims Iraq car bomb attack, 90 killed

A further 50 people were wounded by the blast in Khan Bani Saad, about 30 km northeast of Baghdad. (File: AP)

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed a deadly car bomb blast in an Iraqi town on Friday, killing dozens - including children - celebrating the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, the militants said in a statement.

The attack occurred in a market area of the predominantly Shiite town of Khan Bani Saad as people shopped on the eve of the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

The top official in Khan Bani Saad put the number of those killed at 90, according to Agence France-Presse.

"The toll so far is 90 martyrs and 120 wounded, and we have between 17 and 20 missing," Abbas Hadi Saleh told AFP at the scene.

He said 15 children were killed in the attack, which ripped through the heart of the town's market area.

“The explosion was big, it caused a lot of damage,” Raad Fares al-Mas, a member of parliament, said from nearby Baquba, the capital of Diyala.

In a statement, the Sunni militant group said the suicide bomber had three ton of explosives, Reuters reported.

In video footage purportedly showing the aftermath of the blast, people cry out in anguish while black smoke and fires billow out from the blast site.

ISIS, which controls large parts of northern and western Iraq - including its second largest city of Mosul, which they took in a lightning offensive last June - have previously carried out attacks in the ethnically mixed eastern province of Diyala where Khan Bani Saad is located.

Angry crowds went on the rampage after the explosion, smashing the windows of cars parked in the street in grief and anger.

“Some people were using vegetables boxes to collect body parts of kids' bodies,” said police major Ahmed al-Tamimi from the site of the explosion, describing the damage to the market as “devastating.”

The Diyala provincial government declared three days' mourning and ordered all parks and entertainment places to close
for the rest of the Eid ul-Fitr holiday to avoid further attacks.

ISIS also claimed a deadly car bomb attack that took place Tuesday in Khalis, another town in Diyala just 30 kilometers north of Khan Bani Saad.

Baghdad announced in January that Iraqi forces had “liberated” Diyala, significant parts of which had been overrun by ISIS after the jihadists launched a brutally effective offensive last June.

The militants no longer have fixed positions there but have reverted to their old tactics of planting car bombs, carrying out suicide operations or hit-and-run attacks.
 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44
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